Thatscricket - News - McGrath replaces Lehmann as Yorkshire captain
Published: Monday, January 6, 2003, 1:18 [IST]
Copyright AFP 2001
Yorkshire sacks Lehmann as captain, says not for slur
Anthony McGrath replaces Lehmann as Yorkshire captain
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London: Australian batsman Darren Lehmann was replaced on Friday as Yorkshire captain by Anthony McGrath, the English county opting for its third skipper in as many seasons. Lehmann's loss of the captaincy had been widely predicted and was all but confirmed on Thursday when Yorkshire chief executive Colin Graves said on Friday's announcement at the club's Headingley headquarters would "surprise a lot of people".Graves added, "We are looking for a captain who can pull things together and take us forward." Yorkshire has been under intense pressure to dump Lehmann because of the racial remarks he made while playing for Australia in a One-day International against Sri Lanka last week.Lehmann received a five-match ban from the International Cricket Council (ICC) because of his comments. In the past Yorkshire has been branded racist both for its failure to pick a 1st XI player from the county's sizeable Asian population and for the behaviour of some spectators at Headingley, where West Indies great Viv Richards was once racially abused.But in a strongly-worded statement issued on Friday, Yorkshire condemned Lehmann's comments. "YCCC (Yorkshire County Cricket Club) condemns such remarks made by Darren. It finds them totally unacceptable and are not required in the game of cricket, especially in Yorkshire. "It condemns Darren Lehmanns language and behaviour on this occasion, for which there can never be any satisfactory excuse or explanation. There is no place for racist attitudes, behaviour or language in cricket nor in YCCC. However, Yorkshire said they regarded the matter as closed following the ICC punishment and Lehmann's immediate apology which was accepted by the Sri Lankans."As to Darrens future with the club, the board has considered the matter in the context of his service to Yorkshire over the past 3 years, the last as captain, and also in the context of his excellent record for good conduct and his personal qualities. "In these circumstances they have concluded that his position with the club is unaffected by the incident." Club officials made it clear Lehmann had lost the captaincy because of his international commitments. If, as expected, South Australia favourite Lehmann, 32, is selected for Australia's tour of the West Indies later this year, he will miss the start of the English season in April.Yorkshire is waiting on the Australian selectors before deciding if Lehmann returns to Headingley in 2003 as one of its two permitted overseas players. But they definitely want someone in charge who will be with the team for the whole season, hence the decision to give 27-year-old batsman McGrath a tilt at the captaincy.McGrath, twice an England A tourist, made his county debut in 1995 and was capped four years later. Last season Lehmann succeeded local hero David Byas, who led Yorkshire to its first county championship crown in 33 years in 2001.But it was a different story in 2002. Byas, having retired, resurfaced at arch-rivals Lancashire, while Yorkshire won just two out of 16 championship matches on its way to being relegated.It did beat Somerset in the Trophy final at Lord's although, by that stage, international duties meant Lehmann was not around to enjoy the victory. Instead it was his overseas replacement and fellow Australian Matthew Elliott who had a day to remember, the former Test batsman scoring a match-winning unbeaten century.But that victory was not enough to keep Yorkshire coach and former Australia Test bowler Wayne Clark in his job. Clark, who coached Yorkshire to the 2001 championship title, effectively parted company with the county on Monday after the club said the former Western Australia chief had refused their offer to become their new bowling coach instead of continuing in his current role.
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